Ex-Pag-IBIG head to run for Congress

Published by rudy Date posted on March 22, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – Resigned Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) president and chief operating officer Romero Quimbo said his resignation was not prompted by any political pressure but was a purely professional decision to pursue his political plans in Marikina in the 2010 election.

“My decision was not prompted by any political pressure or by any other person. It’s purely a professional choice on my part. Any allusion to it having been prompted by other reasons is false and without basis,” Quimbo said in an e-mail in reaction to a report in The STAR on his resignation and the investigation ordered by Vice President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairman Noli de Castro.

De Castro ordered HUDCC last month to investigate the management and officials of Pag-IBIG Fund in connection with the removal of the provision indicating that Pag-IBIG Fund should “invest not less than 70 percent of its investible funds to housing” in amending the shelter agency’s Charter.

“I filed my terminal leave and resignation in order to be able to pursue my political plans in Marikina without being accused of misusing the very workers’ fund I have so painstakingly sought to protect in the last eight years as president of Pag-IBIG,” Quimbo said. “Simply, delicadeza. Delicadeza dictates that since I have already announced my intention to seek political office, I should already relieve myself of any connection with my job as president of Pag-IBIG.”

Sources said De Castro was kept in the dark on the removal of the 70 percent investible fund provision in the Charter when the amendments were submitted to Congress.

Quimbo explained that the charter of the Fund had not been substantially changed since its inception despite the fact that the mandate and function had been dramatically overhauled several times over.

“In short, the Charter was out of tune with our current mandate. For instance, the original charter did not assume that the Fund would be directly lending to housing but was envisioned simply as a funder. That is not the case today. We are now the biggest provider of housing loans. The original charter neither provided us the infrastructure nor the employees to carry out the housing mandate,” he said.

Among the government financial institution-pension funds, Quimbo said Pag-IBIG’s employees are among the lowest paid despite the fact that the organization is one of the most profitable. 

“On the requirement to use at least 70 percent of investible funds in housing, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. We are today using already 81 percent of our funds for housing purposes, way beyond the 70 percent requirement,” he added.

Quimbo pointed out that by the end of this year Pag-IBIG will have used up 86 percent of its housing funds.

“This increasing utilization can only dispel any baseless accusation that we are moving out of our housing mandate. In fact, we are not only carrying out the housing program but we are increasing our involvement on an annual basis in the last eight years,” he added.

Quimbo said running the Pag-IBIG Fund requires 100 percent commitment and time, which will prevent him from pursuing his plan to run for congressman of Marikina.

He said he will leave the Fund at its strongest state ever with its asset base doubled, reaching P245 billion today from over P110 billion when he first joined Pag-IBIG in 2001.–Pia Lee Brago, Philippine Star

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